ENGAGE: Insights Turn Vision to Reality—Tips for an AEC Technical Professional’s Strategic Planning Participation

Nov 01 2021

Guidance for AEC Industry Technical Professionals


Technical AEC professionals provide the first-hand intel that helps leadership formulate the firm’s vision. Even if marketing isn’t your gig, you are the anchor that sets the strategic plan in place to become reality. Your intel can make the strategic plan practical and effective.


Since you have day-to-day interaction with the firm’s clients, you have first-hand knowledge of what projects they’re planning, funding they’re seeking, or new geographies in which they’re expanding. These insights are crucial at the strategic planning table. Do the research and bring your most valuable intel to refine the plan.


Your Experience at the Table


Your most valuable skill at a strategic planning session is your ability to give productive feedback. This involves more than useful information or a critical perspective on any perceived shortcomings in the firm or plan. When providing feedback and critique, use a solution-oriented mentality. If you discourage one approach, propose another; if you provide a perspective, make it useful and constructive.


Use your project-related experience with clients and coworkers to give leadership an accurate picture of what is happening in the “real world.”  This knowledge is valuable market research that can help formulate the appropriate strategic planning initiatives.


Focus on Feedback


Your expertise and experience are valuable. Prepare accordingly and deliver the most important pieces of information. Your insights may include:


Client Experience


  • What new services would clients find valuable? 

  • How can the firm expand its role to further become entrenched in the client’s operations? 

  • What have you learned from selection process debriefings about why clients have selected a different firm?


Attracting Technical Staff


  • You are technical staff; how might the firm better attract the best? 

  • What does the firm need to do to be more competitive in enticing experienced professionals? 

  • How are your competitors drawing people away from your firm? 


Training and Mentorship


  • What training do you and your coworkers need to become more effective rainmakers? 

  • How can the firm better support technical staff? 

  • What gaps in involvement from leadership need to be filled?


Technical professionals’ perspectives are valuable beyond the strategic planning table; they are applicable throughout the execution of the strategic plan. By providing your insights throughout the two years it encompasses, you can guide leadership to steer the firm in the right direction. 


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